The Defense Department and the White House did not respond to requests for comment. Stripes publisher Max D. Lederer, Jr. could not be immediately reached. “In a world where news publishers are already struggling to stay afloat amid a global pandemic and Big Tech’s stranglehold over ad revenue, it would be irresponsible for the government to close Stars and Stripes,” Laura Bassett, cofounder of the Save the Journalism Project, said in a statement. “It’s even more outrageous to claim to shut it down to reduce spending when the Trump administration frequently brags about billions of funding increases for the military,” Bassett continued. “The cost to operate the Stars and Stripes is pocket change in the context of the DOD budget. “I read Stars and Stripes on a mountain in Afghanistan when I was a 19 year old aspiring journalist.
Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of U. S. senators urged Defense Secretary Mark Esper in a letter to continue supporting the paper. “It was Stars and Stripes that revealed the Defense Department’s use of public relations firms that profiled reporters and streered them toward favorable coverage of the war in Afghanistan,” wrote the 11 Democrats and four Republicans. “Most recently, the paper brought to light the failure of schools on U. S. military installations to shut down during the pandemic, despite Japanese public schools doing so. “These stories illustrate why Stars and Stripes is essential: they report on stories that no one else covers,” they added.